The collision between the glory of God and the pride of man has two possible crash sites: hell or the cross. In other words, either we will pay for our sins in hell or Christ will pay for our sins on the cross. Hell is like an eternal crash site and crime scene. It is a horror movie in which there are no closing credits because it never ends.

God opposes pride actively and hates it passionately, which means that pride is spiritual suicide. The reason is simple. Pride is on a collision course with God himself and the date is set. “For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up — and it shall be brought low” (Isaiah 2:12). All must be torn down so that one thing alone may be left standing. “The Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11). The Bible calls it the day of the Lord.

But God in his mercy made another way. The Son of God emptied himself by taking on humanity and humbled himself by obeying to the point of death — even the death of the cross. God sends his Son to vindicate the worth of his great name, which sinners have defamed. The sacrifice of Christ fully absorbs and satisfies the wrath of God. This glorious aspect of the atonement is called “propitiation” (Romans 3:24–25).

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